Who's online

There are currently 0 users and 2 guests online.

Regional Arts & Culture Council Awards Literature Fellowship to Kim Stafford

 Contact: Mary Bauer, Communications Associate Regional Arts & Culture Council  |  www.racc.org 108 NW 9th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR  97209-3318 503.823.5111  |  email: [email protected]   Through vision, leadership and service, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) works to integrate arts and culture in all aspects of community life. 

Regional Arts & Culture Council Awards Literature Fellowship to Kim Stafford 

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Literature: Kim Stafford. This fellowship, which is presented to a local artist of high merit in rotating disciplines each year, carries a cash award of $20,000.

Kim Stafford has earned a cherished place in Oregon letters with his graceful style and generosity of spirit. A consummate storyteller, he is at home in a variety of forms – poetry, prose, essays, children’s stories, and creator of public art.  He takes his literary citizenship seriously by bringing literature to communities “to honor, deepen, and advance our sense of civic identity,” as he explains it.  Kim has graced public occasions with his poems; created public art projects around Oregon; and taught writing and literature at dozens of universities. As writer Naomi Shihab Nye describes him, “He has an ability to be present to every moment he ever lives in – a native, original brilliance with language and imagery – a perfect sense of time – an endless appetite for deep listening – a wonderful sense of humor…a true belief in the powers of language to connect, not to divide.”

A native Oregonian, he has served for fifteen years as the Literary Executor of the Estate of William Stafford, his father and another great Oregon poet. He founded and directed the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College in addition to being the founding director of the Oregon Folk Arts Program and Oregon Writing Project. He currently serves as the Writer in Residence at Pacific Northwest College of Art.  His devotion to his craft and community has been recognized by the Public Service Award from the World Affairs Council (1993), the Governor’s Arts Award for Public Service in the Arts (1998), and the Stewart Holbrook Award for Community Service from Literary Arts (2007). He has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“What a thrill it is to honor Kim Stafford,” said Eloise Damrosch, Executive Director of RACC. “He is a very special person, writer and member of this community. For me personally any chance to hear Kim speak or read is an occasion not to be missed. His words always linger in my ear long after he has finished.”

With the award, Stafford will limit his teaching time and step aside for a year from the myriad of jobs he takes on in order to wander the city and carry out a project called Pilgrim at Home: Local Encounters Beyond the Epoch of the Car.  As use of the automobile wanes, Portland will become a different place.

Kim will address how literature -- the stories we tell each other about the place we live -- tune the local and regional imagination for that epoch. This series of “Portland essays of place” will take place on location throughout the city, in conversation with people and through a process he calls “interviewing a place.” He hopes to deepen our sense of local experience on-the-ground in Portland, for Portland.

He will seek to publish his essays locally and then gather them into a book. At the close of the fellowship period, he will work with local hosts to give readings in the four quadrants of Portland to give back, on location, what he has discovered, pondered, and written.

The RACC Artists Fellowship Award, established in 1999, is one of the largest and most prestigious grants to individual artists in the Northwest, helping to foster a climate in which artists can reach for excellence in their work and in turn enrich the communities in our region. Previous Fellowship winners include:

1999, Performing Arts – Obo Addy and Mary Oslund

2000, Visual Arts – Terry Toedtemeier and Christine Bourdette

2001, Literary & Media Arts – Michele Glazer and Jim Blashfield

2002, Performing Arts – Tomas Svoboda and Keith Scales

2003, Visual Arts – Michael Brophy and Judy Cooke

2004, Literary & Media Arts – Craig Lesley and Chel White

2005, Performing Arts – Thara Memory

2006, Visual Arts – Henk Pander

2007, Media Arts – Joanna Priestley

The Fellowship Grant program operates on a four-year cycle celebrating different disciplines. Next year, a performing artist will be honored. For more visit www.racc.org/fellowships.

To apply, professional artists must have worked in their field for 10 years and have lived in the Portland tri-county area for five years. Applications, which include three narrative questions, artist resumes, two letters of recommendation, and examples of the artist’s work, are reviewed through a panel process of community representatives from the discipline being honored.  Debra Gwartney, Mead Hunter, Karen Karbo, Renee Mitchell, Greg Netzer, Ellen Waterston, and Matt Yurdana served as panelists for the literature fellowship this year.